Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Parental Rights In America

Here at Guided By Truth we are dedicated to speaking the truth of God's Word and are committed to staying focused on doctrinal issues. However, there are times when political issues come up that need to be addressed especially when they attack the ability of Americans to be able to share the truth of their faith and the gospel. While most people are unaware of it, there is a real and eminent threat to the parent - child relationship that could affect a parent's ability to train their child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I believe we would all agree that the Scripture teaches us that parents are expected and required to train their children according to God's Word.

Deut 6:5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Certainly in America we would expect to have the right to do this since our constitution guarantees us the freedom of religion and speech. However, according to some judges and law makers that only applies to our personal rights. It does not allow us to train our own children according to our belief system, for children also have a right to the freedom of religion. This threat has been in our country for quite some time but the danger is even more severe because there is now talk about ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UNCRC treaty was signed by President Clinton but never ratified by our congress.

According to the UNCRC every child has the right to "freedom of thought, conscience, and religion," "freedom of expression," and the "freedom of association" not to mention their right to "rest and leisure and to engage in play." Because children have these rights it would be possible for someone to sue a parent for teaching that their faith is the only true religion or disciplining children in accordance with those teachings.

What people need to understand is that according to the US Constitution any treaty signed and ratified becomes the Supreme law of the land. So even though our constitution implies the rights of parents to train their children according their own belief system, because that right is not explicitly a part of the text of the constitution the UNCRC would take precedence. The right of a parent to raise their child according to their own belief system would be overseen by not only the US Government, but by the 10 members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Many people claim that we are mountain out of a molehill and that this treaty would in no way put parenting in the hands of government officials, let alone an international board of directors. Well, they simply are not paying attention to the courts. This treaty has yet to be ratified and still parents in the United States have had their parental rights trampled upon.

Michael Farris, the president of Parentalrights.org and a constitutional lawyer who has been protecting parental rights for 30 years has had some cases that should alarm all of us. One family grounded their daughter from going to the prom due to her use of illegal drugs and a judge said that even though the rules and methods were reasonable they had to allow their daughter to attend the prom anyway. Another case he represented involved a family who had a child complain to a school counselor that his parents took him to church too much. This family attended church on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night and according to the counselor this was too much church and they took them to court. The judge agreed with the counselor and believed that was too much church for this young man. The parents were ordered to stop taking their child to church more than one time a week. Fearing losing custody of their child, these parents followed the judges orders. In the United States of America, parents, not judges are supposed to decide how often their child should go to church or what the proper punishment should be for not only bad, but illegal behavior!

Parents are soon to be faced with the decision to obey the Lord and train them according to their belief or lose the custody of their child. That should never happen in the United States of America, but it already is happening and if the UNCRC is ratified it will become more prevalent. There is a way to stop this nonsense and protect the rights of parents, and that is to amend our constitution protecting parental rights. The Parental Rights Amendment would help to assure that parents, not government will have the freedom to raise their children and that no international treaty will ever supersede that right. The amendment has also been carefully crafted in such a way that will allow the state to intervene to protect children from actual abuse. There is a blog that will be following the movement of this amendment called Support Parental Rights where you can sign up to it's RSS feed and keep abreast of all the details related to the movement. To join the movement, sign the petition, or simply learn more go to parentalrights.org. Let us make sure that we not only remain free to spread the gospel to adults, but that we remain free to evangelize the most precious segment of our society, our own children.

Matt 19:14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me , and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."



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